How to Read a Report Card

“What do you mean…read a report card???  If I can see an A, B, or C or a 1, 2, or 3….doesn’t that mean I’m done?”

do you read this part of the report card?

how about this?

..or this?

maybe your card looks like this...

I have a few pointers for you to help you make the most out of the information available to you on that report card. There are many different types of cards…for elementary and secondary schools…types of reporting with grades and/or numbers. No one can know what that reporting system means without actually ‘reading’ the directions first. Yup, that’s what I said…you really do have to know what the +’s and -’s mean that are attached to letter grades. But even more than that, most cards have individual standards listed underneath each major heading (like math)…if you see x’s or checkmarks in little boxes there, do you know what they mean?  I don’t either unless I ‘read’ the card. It’s the only way to know if those extra marks are encouraging or hoping for more attention! The more you read that side of the card, the more you can help your child to succeed academically.

here's my favorite part of report cards...

But, more importantly, at least in my opinion, is the other part of the card. You know….the part that talks about citizenship and/or work habits…. This area of the card is so important in telling you how your child is doing with traits that will be of benefit to him all through his life. Reading the card is, again, of utmost importance to see what the ‘grades’ are in these areas. If, for example, 1-5 is used to report a child’s ability to listen to and follow directions…what does that mean to you? Is a 3 for satisfactory okay with you?? In life…don’t you need to be able to follow directions in a better manner than satisfactory? I always wanted a 1 or 2 in every area in both citizenship and work habits for my children at home and for the students I taught at school. Less than that meant, to me, that the kids weren’t trying their best to be kind or work hard or finish things on time or whatever the skills were on that card.

are these important qualities for you to monitor?

social and personal growth?? Oh, yeah!

work habits are extremely important also...

Make sure you check with your child’s teacher about their methods of grading and what they expect, but then also remember to read and understand that report card before zooming directly to the numbers and letters. And because I can’t leave it alone…please encourage citizenship and work habits above all else. Our world definitely could use kind and responsible citizens now and in the future.


Just thoughts from a retired teacher…hoping to be helpful!

Missing Happiness Tuesdays?? Join us on Thursday for something new:)

Happy Parenting!

D and C

School Open Houses

Everyone is back into school and settled in, right? Have you had your school’s Open House or Curriculum Night yet…or whatever else it might be called? This is the night to hear the plan for the year, to hear from your child’s teacher, to find out what might be expected from your little darlings…this is different from conferences when parents get to discuss progress in academics and citizenship with their children’s teachers. Open Houses can be so helpful in beginning a satisfactory, successful year for your kids. I hope you can remember to attend with an open mind. So many times the neighborhood ‘rumor mills’ decide who the good and bad teachers are…don’t you feel you should be able to make your own assessment after interaction with the teacher personally? I hope you will give it a try.


Newsletters, whether printed or online, are an important source of information to keep you up-to-date with what may be going on in the classrooms. Calendars, assignments, notices of upcoming events and necessary paperwork are included to help you prepare for what your child may be bringing home.


If you want to speak with the teacher about something you feel is important before conferences arrive, please try email first. Teachers usually read and respond quicker than having to find the time to answer a phone call or schedule a meeting. When you do send that email out, remember that the teacher can’t see your facial expressions or read your mood, but they can see the speed with which you share your concern. Do you take the time to reread what you have written? Would you say the same things in person with others around you? Have you considered all sides to the question? Are you angry??   Please put the email aside for an hour before hitting that send button…sometimes just breathing will give you a totally different perspective on the issue, and if not, at least you will have given yourself the chance to cool down.


Most parents are lovely sponsors for their children, and their children will become lovely role models themselves. Others might be able to use some simple reminders of civility. If this post seems negative in any way, I’m only sharing advice after teaching for 41 years. I hope what you see is someone trying to help!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Homework Blues?

     This is the time of year when report cards often come home giving parents lots of information on both academic progress and the behavior and work ethic of their children.
     We’ll talk more in the future about the behavior portion of the card, but for now let’s focus on grades and work ethic. What can you find out about your children from these cards?? What age levels are we talking about…actually, all of them in one way or another!

reading should always be an option when there is no homework
no matter what the age of the children

     Preschoolers’ report cards: Look for comments on how they socialize with others, how well they listen, and how well they follow directions. You can help at home in all those areas. Watch how they interact with people and increase play group times if necessary. Make sure you follow through with consequences if the kids have a hard time listening to your directions the first time you give them or if they can’t seem to complete tasks you give them. The more you encourage them now, the easier their school years will be in the future.

     Elementary kids’ report cards: As the kids go through their elementary years keep a close eye on continuing trends over time–a hard time with math success or difficulty completing or turning in homework. Find consequences early on that help them to improve. Find specific places for homework to be done–PLEASE NOT in a bedroom filled with computers, TVs, video games, and phones. No matter how much they say they are working (and no matter how much you want to believe them) they will become distracted or disinterested. Elementary kids need constant oversight (every few minutes, not every half hour) to stay on task and to then feel the achievement of completing their homework successfully and in a minimum amount of time.
     High School kids’ report cards: If high schoolers have learned that important work ethic when they were younger, you can loosen the reins a bit as long as their report cards show what you them to. Continue to look for sudden changes in work or behavior which should result in a tightening of those reins, back to more structure and oversight.

which leads to high school graduation

Chad was working in CO during his college graduation ceremony

another high school graduation

Scott’s graduation from MSU

     There are many years of hard work and practice from preschool right through college for the kids, and lots of years of encouragement, boundaries, and discipline for the parents. But the rewards for both children and parents are huge in seeing those little guys become responsible, successful, independent young adults.

     More homework tips soon. Do you have any special questions or concerns you’d like us to deal with?? Send them along!

Happy Parenting!
D and C